Tuesday, April 21, 2009

How the E-Book Will Change Things

I knew then that the book's migration to the digital realm would not be a simple matter of trading ink for pixels, but would likely change the way we read, write and sell books in profound ways. It will make it easier for us to buy books, but at the same time make it easier to stop reading them. It will expand the universe of books at our fingertips, and transform the solitary act of reading into something far more social. It will give writers and publishers the chance to sell more obscure books, but it may well end up undermining some of the core attributes that we have associated with book reading for more than 500 years.
Steven Johnson at The Wall Street Journal* contemplates the profound ways in which the very nature of reading is set to change with the advent of e-books.

The biggest downside he reckons, is that :
... one of the great joys of book reading -- the total immersion in another world, or in the world of the author's ideas -- will be compromised. We all may read books the way we increasingly read magazines and newspapers: a little bit here, a little bit there.
And here's what I want e-books to become - Vooks! Let's enjoy our printed on paper books, but use the technology for something more exciting.

(*Thanks, Chet!)

1 comment:

Yusuf Martin said...

Because of the expense of the technology involved in being able to purchase and read an e-book, this will never replaced reading paper and card books.

Until a time is reached when my neighbour out here in Ulu-land can buy and read a newspaper, magazine or book, in his own language, cheaply enough, the world will continue to prefer printed paper.

Technology is a wonderful thing, but until it is shared with everyone, it will only be a rich boy's toy.